Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 6
U.S. Teachers and Students Are
Tops for Time Spent in School
Talking Politics at School
'When the World Is on Fire'
"Education at a Glance, 2019"
U.S. students and teachers alike spend significantly more
time at school than their international peers, according
to the latest Education at a Glance compendium by the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The mammoth annual report released last week tracks
educational indicators for 46 member and participating
countries, including the United States. It includes measures
for early childhood through postgraduate education, as well
as comparisons of teachers and principals.
It shows U.S. students and their teachers spend a lot more
time in the classroom than their global peers.
A typical U.S. student spends 8,884 hours in school from
kindergarten through 8th grade. That's nearly 1,300 hours-
more than a full school year-above the OECD average.
In higher education, U.S. students also take slightly longer
on average to complete a bachelor's degree than their
But young children are much less likely to participate in
preschool in the United States than in the typical OECD
country, the report shows. While 77 percent of 3-year-olds
and 88 percent of 4-year-olds in participating countries were
enrolled in preschool on average, in the United States, the
preschool enrollment share is 35 percentage points lower for
3-year olds and 22 percentage points lower for 4-year-olds.
U.S. teachers are asked to work 2,000 hours on average.
That's 400 hours longer than the OECD average, and
ties with Chile and Switzerland for the longest statutory
worktime among the countries. At all levels, U.S. teachers
spend about half of their time in class, which amounts to
more instructional time than the global average at every
grade but preschool.
The data also show that U.S. teachers and principals are
among the highest paid internationally. A typical new U.S.
teacher earns about $40,000, about $7,000 more than
the global average. A 15-year veteran teacher earns a little
more than $62,000, compared to just under $46,000 on
average across study nations. But the salary gap between U.S.
principals and teachers is among the largest in the OECD.
In postsecondary education, the 2019 report notes that the
percentage of U.S. young adults ages 25-34 who had earned
some type of postsecondary degree rose 8 percentage points
from 2008 to 2018, to 49 percent. That's above the OECD
average of 44 percent. U.S. students were more likely than
the OECD average to earn "short-cycle" associate degrees or
certificates, but only 11 percent of U.S. young adults earned
a master's or doctoral degree, compared to 15 percent in
-Sarah D. Sparks
Teacher and Principal Salaries
Around the World
In equivalent U.S. dollars
There's an ongoing debate about whether teachers should
address issues that could be seen as political in school. This
collection of essays takes a clear stance: Teachers can, and
should, talk about topics like racism and climate change.
Why do you think discussion of these topics belongs in the
I guess I don't view it as the discussion of these topics. I view it as the
discussion of children's lives. ... School is the place for young people to
be able to look at their world, to connect what they're doing in school
to their world. ... If we can't connect to it in some way, children, like
adults, just refuse to engage.
Professor of education,
Southern University and A&M
How can teachers help their
students navigate today's fraught
That's a central question in
Teaching When the World Is on
Fire, a collection of essays from
teachers, principals, and other
educators, edited by Lisa Delpit.
Delpit, an acclaimed education
researcher and MacArthur
Fellowship recipient, is best
known for her writing on how
schools perpetuate racial
inequalities. In Teaching When
the World Is on Fire, she turns her
attention to what she calls the
"growing division, incivility, hate,
and violence" in today's world.
In the book's essays, teachers
write about how politics
permeates their classrooms-and
they offer advice for colleagues
who are trying to help their
students understand the world
around them. Education Week
spoke with Delpit about the book,
and how teachers can start these
conversations with students.
This Q&A has been lightly edited
for length and clarity.
of school heads
6 | EDUCATION WEEK | September 18, 2019 | www.edweek.org
Are there certain things that teachers, especially white
teachers, might need to keep in mind when they're having
One of the young authors in the book talked about the importance
of listening. If you're not from the community, an integral part of the
community that the children are a part of-and most teachers are not
today-then it is really important to listen to the children, listen to
parents, listen to other adults who might be a part of that community,
to get a sense of what kinds of issues are affecting the lives of the
students and their families.
I've always thought that teaching should be related to anthropology
and ethnography. If you are going into a place that is not familiar,
you need to use those kinds of tools-which are mostly listening and
trying to make sense of what you hear. Go in with a sense of humility,
that you have to learn about what's there.
Throughout the book, teachers write about confronting
the uptick in racist slurs and hate speech after the 2016
election. How can teachers address this if it happens in their
Teachers need to make it clear that behaving in that way toward
others won't be tolerated in classrooms. One teacher I knew a while
back had what she called "put-ups." If you put somebody down,
then you had to come up with three put-ups that would be positive-
and they had to be judged as real by the person that they were
Young kids, as one of the essays about kindergarten raised, have
a sense of fairness and community and wanting people to feel
good that sometimes we ignore as adults. Rather than ignore that,
I think we should not only nurture it with young kids, but as kids
get into ages where there's more likely to be bullying and saying
negative things, ... the teacher needs to create an environment
where other kids in the class are rewarded for responding to
negative slurs or insults.
One of the teachers I worked with a long time ago taught about
ancient Egypt, and used the Ma'at system [a moral framework that
was the basis for ancient Egyptian law]. Ma'at is seven concepts-like
reciprocity, beauty, justice-that people should be focused on. ... It
gave them a model. It doesn't have to be Ma'at, but I think there are
other models teachers can use to talk about how we should interact
with each other.
Many of the essays discuss how broader political and legal
systems affect students-through deportation, police
brutality, or gun violence. How can teachers make students
feel safe at school, when many of the dangers kids face are
outside of teachers' control?
Obviously, there's no way that we can do that completely. We're all
facing those dangers outside of the school walls. I think in school,
[we should be] really rallying against this notion of using schools as
a pipeline to prison in any way-[we need] to stop criminalizing kids'
We also have to address trauma that kids experience. There is
research that shows that trauma not only affects the children or the
people in the community who experience the trauma, but it affects
all the other children and all the other bystanders and onlookers, or
even those who become aware of that trauma-especially if they share
any kind of similarity with the person who's been affected. We have
to allow children to process that, and look for ways that teachers can
understand the effects of trauma.
Education Week - September 18, 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 18, 2019
Education Week - September 18, 2019
How Caring for Students Can Take a Steep Toll
Teachers on Front Lines of Making Schools Safe for Transgender Kids
Could Testing Wreck Civics Education?
Wanted: Teachers as Diverse As Their Students
Digital Tools Are Everywhere, But Evidence of Impact Is Not
What the Research Says
Talking Politics at School ‘When the World Is on Fire’
Presidential Candidates Argue Charters, Equity
The Perils of Equity-Focused Leadership
Special and General Education Should Be One Nimble System
Letters to the Editor
EdWeek Top School Jobs
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - Wanted: Teachers as Diverse As Their Students
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 2
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - Briefly Stated
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 4
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - Digital Tools Are Everywhere, But Evidence of Impact Is Not
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - Talking Politics at School ‘When the World Is on Fire’
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - Presidential Candidates Argue Charters, Equity
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 8
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 9
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 10
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 11
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 12
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 13
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 14
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 15
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - The Perils of Equity-Focused Leadership
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - Special and General Education Should Be One Nimble System
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - Letters to the Editor
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - EdWeek Top School Jobs
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - 20
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - CW1
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - CW2
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - CW3
Education Week - September 18, 2019 - CW4